Googleshare (also called mindshare) is one of the most powerful approaches to have fun with mining the web for data, and answers. Here's how it works; when you enter a single term or phrase into Google, you get a certain page count. For example, you enter "Rolling Stones" as phrase search and Google tells you there are about 10,500,000 pages on the web containing this phrase. Now you combine this query with one of the Rolling Stones singers, searching for: "Rolling Stones" "Mick Jagger"

This results in 1,470,000 pages. The percentage the second value has in relation to the first is its "googleshare." So Mick Jagger has a googleshare of 14% with the Rolling Stones. This is very high; Keith Richards only has a Rolling Stones googleshare of 5%. This makes Mick Jagger the most popular in the band. Peter Smith, on the other hand, has a googleshare of only 0.006% with the Stones – because he's not a band member, of course.

Here are some more googleshare examples:

Full House:

Ashley Olsen 1.46%
John Stamos 1.07%
Bob Saget 1.04%
Mary-Kate Olsen 0.97%
Dave Coulier 0.58%
Jodie Sweetin 0.56%

Tom Cruise:

Nicole Kidman 20.80%
Katie Holmes 16.34%
Penelope Cruz 7.51%
Mimi Rogers 0.57%

Harrison Ford:

Star Wars 14.97%
Firewall 8.98%
Blade Runner 4.06%
Raiders of the Lost Ark 2.78%
The Fugitive 2.12%
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1.43%
American Graffiti 1.13%
Six Days Seven Nights 0.9%
Regarding Henry 0.55%
The Mosquito Coast 0.5%


We can also find the googleshare for a specific year and an event. For example, we can determine the googleshare for 1950 and "Disco," 1951 and "Disco," and so on for all years until 2005. We then normalize this data by taking into account that some years are represented more often on the web (for example, the year 1960 on its own appears more often than the year 1961). What we get as result is a peak year which shows us when this fad or person was on the height of its fame, or when an event happened. I've created a tool called "Centuryshare" as part of the FindForward search engine (findforward.com/?t=century) which helps visualize this data:

Centuryshare: World War II


Centuryshare: Disco


As you can see, you can determine the googleshare for anything and everything, really. Douwe Osinga, who currently works at Google Zürich, created a project called "Land Geist" (see www.55fun.com/23.2– back then Douwe actually used search engine AllTheWeb, not Google, to compile his data). Land Geist features different maps for different words, like "holiday," "rice" or "poverty." The most popular countries for holidays according to Land Geist are Mauritius, Cyprus and Spain. Determining the "countryshare" for "Islam," on the other hand, returns Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iran as top contenders.

Countryshare: Holiday

The "countryshare" map for the term "holiday" (the darker the country, the higher its googleshare). Courtesy of Douwe Osinga.